BOSTON — New Englanders breathed easier in 2019.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday the six-state region experienced fewer days with unhealthy air quality this year, compared to last year.

Based on preliminary data collected from March to September, there were 24 days when ozone monitors in New England recorded ozone concentrations above levels considered healthy. There were 28 such days in 2018.

Ground-level ozone is formed when pollutants chemically react in the presence of sunlight.

The number of unhealthy ozone days in Connecticut dropped from 23 in 2018 to 21 this year; dropped to five from 12 in Massachusetts; fell to two from 12 in Rhode Island; was down to one from six in New Hampshire; went to one from three in Maine; and was down to zero from one in Vermont.

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